I haven't written much in the past several months. To be honest, for the first couple of months of this shit-storm, it took all of my energy to just...keep going. I was inundated with work, my kids were home indefinitely, and we could barely even leave the house. In the first couple weeks of this shut down, which for us started on March 13 - the last day of school before "March Break" - the boys would take their basketballs to the school and practice their three-pointers. Then all playgrounds were shut down, basketball hoops were taken down, and the only place they had to let off some steam was our minuscule backyard. At least we have a basketball net.
We all know what happened; what those months were like. In between working (in the living room because my husband needed the privacy of the office for his 8 hours of daily Zoom meetings), I tried to help guide my kids through their online learning, but I really didn't care that much, other than wanting them to have SOMETHING that resembled structure. I baked bread, cookies, cakes, and muffins.
I drank way too much wine.
When I slept, my dreams were intense and filled with terror. I would wake up multiple times a night. I watched the Prime Minister's daily press conferences – sometimes they brought me comfort, other times they filled me with more dread of the unknowns. I stayed grateful that my family was healthy, that both my husband and I had work. That we had a home and food in the cupboards. We gave money to charities that feed the less fortunate in the city.
Anytime I thought of writing, of clearing my thoughts to allow the creativity to flow, I would get overwhelmed and turn on the radio, the television, anything to distract myself from the anxious thoughts whirling in the background of my brain.
So no writing. Short stories that I had been working on in January, February and early March were allowed to collect dust. My notebooks weren't opened. The closest I got to writing was typing my thoughts into my phone in the middle of the night, in an attempt to cast them aside, so that I could sleep. I haven't looked at any of those notes since I wrote them. One day I will, but we are still living through this storm.
Sure, it's calm right now, and the number of cases each day is low – I live in the most populated city in Canada and in the past few weeks, there have been fewer than a dozen new cases each day. It's a comfort. It's part of the reason my husband and I have decided to send our kids back to the classroom in a few weeks. But.
My stress and fear and anxiety won't away. I have started to work on my stories again, and I even sent a couple away in the hopes of publication. Maybe one day I will be able to write more deeply about my experiences throughout this pandemic. It hasn't all been awful – this time with my small family has been both amazing and challenging. We are all still healthy. We all still have full bellies. I don't drink quite as much wine. I'm slowly allowing myself to listen to my own thoughts again.
I am listening to classical music while my kid eats Fruit Loops. Life isn't all bad.